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Let’s find out how to plan a backyard wedding! A favorite of couples who would rather host a more intimate celebration or on a lavish honeymoon. We’ll cover what you have to take into account and a couple of gnarly DIYs you cannot miss!

Embrace the natural setting, let your imagination fly and make sure you follow at least some of these steps to plan a backyard wedding that is the GOAT!

Embrace the natural setting, let your imagination fly and make sure you follow at least some of these steps to plan a backyard wedding that is the GOAT!

A great place to consider having a ceremony is in a backyard, it can be breathtaking and so personalized. You may think a backyard wedding will lack that important TD effect. In reality, it’s more like Cinderella before the big ball. A hidden beauty bursting with potential; waiting for someone’s magical touch to turn it into the most impressive reception of them all.

Related: 28 Insane (but Amazing) Wedding Reception Lighting Ideas You Can Steal

A Checklist to Plan a Backyard Wedding Bash

Even though this checklist to plan a backyard wedding is by no means exhaustive, it will give you a head start.

First, let’s talk about available space and number of guests you can fit in it. We know you are keeping it real but you have these two numbers match. People gotta be comfortable, am i right? So, verify the number of guests that will attend. That way you know how to work with the space. If your backyard space isn’t ideal; consider using a family member or friend’s space. (Hint that it would be a great wedding present.)

If you have a roomy outdoor space, here’s the checklist for your backyard wedding bash.



Hanging lightbulb strings adds a charming ambiance to this backyard wedding. Lauren Apel Photo.

Hanging lightbulb strings adds a charming ambiance to this backyard wedding. Lauren Apel Photo.

How to plan a backyard wedding: don't forget the guestbook table!

How to plan a backyard wedding: don’t forget the guestbook table!

Defining the Space for your Flawless Backyard Affair

Defining the space is a key concern when planning a backyard wedding. Kind of why wedding venues let you know their occupancy depending on if you are hosting indoors, outdoors, sitting, standing, etc. So, unless you hire a wedding planner that can tackle this task, grab a map of your yard and start assigning areas. Here are a few to get you going.

1. Wedding Tables and Seating Assignments

Will you need tables for your guests? Round, rectangular, square? How large are they? How many of each will you need? Chairs, anyone?

Needless to say, there are many tables you may want to consider; cake or dessert, favors, escort cards and guest book, head table, guests tables, food and cocktail tables. Of course, to plan a backyard wedding in a limited space you will have to be creative and do away with some of these tables, right?

Do away with the chairs and try these alternative seating ideas for your backyard wedding. Photo: Yolanda Marx.

Do away with the chairs and try these alternative seating ideas for your backyard wedding. Photo: Yolanda Marx.

Rentals can really dress up your guest's tables.

Rentals can really dress up your guest’s tables.

2. Lit Food Options to Plan a Backyard Wedding

The fun of having a wedding in your own backyard is that you can personalize it to the max. Food options abound; pot luck, catering, homemade.

A fun thing for some budget conscious couples; rent food trucks. It can cut a $68 plate per person to $25 and cut down on the space needed for the caterers and food tables. But you will need a place to park them and maybe a permit.

Related: Mini Foods for Weddings, A Mini Guide to Serving Miniature Food

If you are setting your food  and drinks outdoors make sure you plan a way to keep them at a proper temperature and free of pests. Consider saving a space for the bar and cooling of the beverages.

Refreshing beverages in stylish dispensers for an irresistible look perfect for a backyard wedding.

Refreshing beverages in stylish dispensers for an irresistible look perfect for a backyard wedding.




3. Plan for Ceremony Space (Optional)

Planning to recite your vows on your backyard? Make sure to reserve a space for the wedding arch, officiant, wedding squad, family and a few guests.

The next step is to think about making transitions between the reception and ceremony areas. Whether you choose beautifully lit balloon archways or aisles of gorgeous potted plants you can’t go wrong. Of course, this only applies if you host the ceremony there too. If you get married at the courthouse or the church, this is a non-issue.

Garden pergolas are perfect for reciting your vows in the intimacy of your own backyard.

Garden pergolas are perfect for reciting your vows in the intimacy of your own backyard.

Intimate backyard weddings are adorably cute and number one for feeling comfy and homey all day.

Intimate backyard weddings are adorably cute and number one for feeling comfy and homey all day.

4. Remember the Much Needed Shelter

Unless you are planning to open up your house in case of bad weather or just because you want to decorate a tent, plan on providing some shelter for your guests. Deciding to rent a tent can be a life-saver if the weather shifts, however, they can be pricey (get an early start and shop for a good quote)

Related: 37 Creative Wedding Tent Decor Ideas That Are The Goat (Greatest of All Time)

Tents require space, Depending of the tent style, the more space is needed. Add that to your map. Are your guests still fitting?

Turn a necessity into a TD backyard wedding decor. Tents do take up more space so tread carefully.

Turn a necessity into a TD backyard wedding decor. Tents do take up more space so tread carefully.

5. What is a Backyard Bash Without Entertainment?

Consider where the DJ booth, the band, photo station and the dance floor will go. If you are planning on installing a dance floor, keep in mind it will require a very flat surface. Otherwise, invite your guests to bare their feet and enjoy nature!

How much space will you spare for the dance floor? Find out how to plan a backyard wedding. Floral decor by Flowers by Frankie and photographed by Clay Austin Photography.

How much space will you spare for the dance floor? Find out how to plan a backyard wedding. Floral decor by Flowers by Frankie and photographed by Clay Austin Photography.

How to throw a perfectly organized DIY wedding in your backyard.

How to throw a perfectly organized DIY wedding in your backyard.

6. Options to Plan a Backyard Wedding for When Nature Calls

Don’t forget about the bathrooms. Make sure the ones inside the house are fully stocked and cleaned throughout your event. It would be in your best interested to hire a bathroom attendant or to rent stalls. Just tuck them on the side of your property. Your guest bladders will thank you.

Gorgeous backyard patios area your guests will truly enjoy.

Gorgeous backyard patios area your guests will truly enjoy.

How To Plan a Backyard Wedding: Logistic Tips

Plan for parking and accessibility. Let your neighbors know that people will be parking and partying all night long. Ask your guests to carpool as much as possible.

Flowers, tents and you’ll never guess it balloons are pop items being used. Tents along with chairs and tables can usually be rented from a party warehouse for a decent price.

Related: Why you Should Consider Hiring a Day-Of Wedding Coordinator

Another item to be taken care of, is yard preparation. It may not seem glamorous, but skipping this can have guests not having a good time on your special day. It is not necessary to be an expert to pull these steps off just a little patience. First, treat the area for unwanted pests; nothing can take attention away from the lovely couple like a swarm of flies or nasty bites from ants. And if you have a grass garden, do not water the yard 2 or 3 days before your big event. A soggy lawn makes for muddy shoes and no one likes that.   Take care of any bare spots by planting sod and fertilizing way ahead of the big day.

As the guest list is small, when planning your backyard wedding, feel free to go all out. The Edges Wedding Photography.

As the guest list is small, when planning your backyard wedding, feel free to go all out. The Edges Wedding Photography.

Last, but not least, make sure you’ve enough power for the music, lights, and catering needs and proper liability insurance coverage. This is why, intimate backyard weddings are pop these days.

Try to embrace the natural setting, let your imagination fly and make sure you follow at least some of these steps to plan a backyard wedding that is the GOAT!

 

RELATED WEDDING PLANNING TIPS & IDEAS

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Photography credits: brides, bridalguide, Inspiração Decor, brooklynlimestone, happywedd, weddinginclude, chicvintagebrides, Tumblr, brit+co, countryliving, cuteweddingideas

Picking your perfect wedding invitation may be as stressful as choosing your wedding dress. First impressions count and the wedding invitation sets up the tone for the entire wedding. And don’t forget that this invite will forever live in your mother-in-law’s photo album! 😁

A gold wax seal elevates the wedding invitation to the heights of elegance. By clovercreek.

A gold wax seal elevates the wedding invitation to the heights of elegance. By clovercreek.

Once you’ve decided on the reception theme or its colors, it’s time to start looking for the perfect wedding invitation. But with so many options, etiquette and protocol, how will we even manage? Simple. Follow these 10 proven tips to ensure you end up with the perfect wedding invitation. Let’s start!

1- Pick your Perfect Wedding Invitation Theme

The invitation gives your guests a little peek into what your wedding will be like. So, this is all about how your invitation will accomplish that. It’s easier than you think.

What’s your wedding theme? Enchanted forest, urban chic, romantic industrial vintage, ultra glam or beachy-boho. Great. Dark and moody with greenery designs fit a woodland wedding. Acrylic invites are all the rage for both ultra glam and urban weddings.

Related: 19 Irresistible & Original Wedding Ideas (and How to Make them Happen)

If you decided there won’t be a wedding theme, have you decided on a color? Are you hosting a summery and brightly colored-bash, an elegant copper and marble soiree, or a classy and elegant ivory reception? A simple monogrammed invite is a great match for an intimate backyard wedding,

Finally, if color is not a key element, how about getting inspiration from the place or the event itself? Are you planning a destination or a brunch wedding? You can pick some elements like seashells, palm leaves or bagels and doughnuts to define the theme of your perfect wedding invitation!

Modern and #onfleek layered wedding invite. 10 proven tips to picking your perfect wedding invitation.

Modern and #onfleek layered wedding invite.

Eclectic hand lettered gray invitation suite with vellum envelopes. Paper with rough edges and a white wax seal.

Eclectic hand lettered gray invitation suite with vellum envelopes. Paper with rough edges and a white wax seal.

2- The Design of the Perfect Wedding Invitation

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and what one bride is crazy for, makes another bride run for the hills. So, don’t worry if you are the only one that likes them. It’s your wedding after all.

Search for the overall look and feel of the invite. Trendy brides would probably kill for acrylic invites or moody colored invitations. Glam weddings may call for shimmery pocketfolds or gold foil stamped laser cut invitations. A more traditional bride may fall in love with classic white stock invitations with black or burnt sienna lettering.

Related: Learn How To DIY Save The Date Magnets In Only 10 Minutes

This all goes to show you that the design of the perfect invitation starts with what you like and envision as representative of your wedding. Identify a list of elements that convey the theme according to you. It will help you search and find that perfect wedding invitation.

Swoon and double swoon! Dark floral luxury wedding invitation origami inspired by Mulberry.

Swoon and double swoon! Dark floral luxury wedding invitation origami inspired by Mulberry.

Timeless Alyssa wedding invitations by Airy calligraphy. Shown in black ink with a vintage blush garden rose liner and tied with Antoinette silk ribbon.

Timeless Alyssa wedding invitations by Airy calligraphy. Shown in black ink with a vintage blush garden rose liner and tied with Antoinette silk ribbon.

3- How To Choose The Perfect Wedding Invitation: The Graphic Design

Your printer will need your choice of invitation layout and font pairing. Don’t despair. Let’s decide this ahead of time and not at the last minute. These two elements are crucial to the look of your invitations.

The layout refers to the text distribution on the printed pieces. It could be centered, flushed left or right or both! The font pairing is your choice of fonts. Both are super important to get the look you want.

There are different font types and they can be Sans Serif, Serif, Slab Serif, Script, Blackletter, Mono, Hand and Decorative. Unless you are going for a Goth look and feel, drop the Blackletter.

Beach perfect wedding invitation. Ribbons, starfish, tissue paper and invitation box by mospensstudio.

Beach perfect wedding invitation. Ribbons, starfish, tissue paper and invitation box by mospensstudio.

Sans Serif fonts, especially more geometric ones, give a more modern and industrial vibe. A great example is the Eurostile typekit, designed by Aldo Novarese in 1962. It boasts square shapes and round edges giving a sense of modern architecture. Italicized fonts are perfect for a more classic style. And the mix of both is out of this world!

Also, fonts are the latest wedding trend filling up *all* your feeds this year so you may want to play with a few combos to see what strikes your fancy. Pair a couple of fonts, one for the names and the other for the body of the invitation.

No matter what the invitation sample you have seen has on it, you are free to use any font and layout you want.




Take a Little Break to Check out These Amazing Wedding Invitations

Swipe left to Scroll Through the Photo Gallery.

4- The Invitation Set: How Many Pieces do you Really Need?

If you plan on inviting everybody to the religious ceremony but only a few to the wedding reception, you should consider adding a reception card to your invitation set. It is less expensive than printing two sets of invitations with different text. Another reason to use the reception card that you are fancy and want to impress your guests with all these cute cards. 😁

Let’s talk about the RSVP. If you need your guests to mail you back their response, you will have to provide them with the RSVP card and a little postage-paid envelope for them to fill out and mail back. If you’d rather have them confirm their assistance via text, email or phone, you can add an RSVP line of text to your invitation card and avoid the extra expense.

A third piece is the map. If your wedding reception is somewhere abroad or at a mountaintop and cell signal is poor, you may want to give directions and insert a map in the invitation envelope or pocket. Just in case, amiright?

Will you add an RSVP to your perfect wedding invitation?

Will you add an RSVP to your perfect wedding invitation?

Stunning Ultra Violet wedding invitations and lined envelopes.

Stunning Ultra Violet wedding invitations and lined envelopes.

Strikingly beautiful boxed wedding invitations.

Strikingly beautiful boxed wedding invitations.

5- How to Write Your Perfect Wedding Invitation

Formal, informal or somewhere in between? A choice needs to be made and examples of wedding invitation text and verses abound all over the web. We have some here, (link to verses) if you’d like to browse and get inspired.

But you will have to define who is participating of the wedding. It may be the bride’s parents, both sets of parents, the couple or who knows? Every family is different.

Related: Save Money on Your Wedding and Still Look Like a Million Bucks

Just make sure that if somebody other than you is forking the money for your big day, they get their say on the text before you place the order with the printer. Either that or forever hold their peace. 😉

Always ask for a proof. You do not want your classy transparent black gold acrylic lucite perspex wedding invitations ruined with a misspelling.

Always ask for a proof. You do not want your classy transparent black gold acrylic lucite perspex wedding invitations ruined with a misspelling.

6- A Perfect Wedding Invitation Demands a Perfect Envelope

Fortunately for couples getting married this year, you can choose a very simple card and an amazing envelope! Super trendy, more affordable and it would definitely be my choice.

Envelopes can make your invitation stand out like nothing else. The choices are endless. Envelopes can be square or rectangular, acrylic, see-through, with or without pockets, with or without lining. They can be ultra personalized with a seal or lined with a color or motif that complements your theme. A lined envelope will always grant that perfectly polished look to your perfect wedding invitation!

Burgundy and gold floral wedding invitations with lined envelopes.

Burgundy and gold floral wedding invitations with lined envelopes via Etsy.

Tip: Choose the same font and ink color as the one used on the wedding invitations for a more coordinated and finished look.

Addressing envelopes is an arduous task, but you can simplify it by ordering pre-printed return address envelopes. Now, print your guest’s names and addresses on clear labels and you will have avoided having to write them one by one! Woohooo!!

Vintage monogram embossed luxury lace gray and pink wedding stationery.

Vintage monogram embossed luxury lace gray and pink wedding stationery.

7- To Calligraphy or Not To Calligraphy?

Calligraphy is a manual process and it will add to the cost of the wedding invitations. If you are crazy about the look but lack the time or the budget, you may choose a font that looks like calligraphy. Lamar Pen, Burgues Script, Hiyida, Dom Loves Mary, Shania, Hummingbird, Edwardian Script ITC, Malibu Script, are great examples of calligraphy fonts. Make sure to ask your printer if they carry the font. Or buy it and have your printer use it!

Geometric clear acrylic and gold wedding stationery in lucite perspex plexiglass.

Geometric clear acrylic and gold wedding stationery in lucite perspex plexiglass via Etsy.

8- How To Estimate The Number of Wedding Invites

To know how many invitations you should order, just count:

  • One invitation for each couple.
  • Children under the age of 18 should be included in their parents’ wedding invitation. Zero invitations added here.
  • Single guests get one invitation for them and their plus one. Unless this is a really formal occasion where you send an invitation to the plus one as well.

And finally, always but always, order at least 25 extra invitations to have them ready in case guests get added to the list at the last minute or if some invitation gets lost in the mail. Plus, you will want to have a couple as a keepsake. The cost of ordering 25 additional invites at the time of printing is much lower than reprinting only 25 wedding invitations.

Related: How Bilingual Wedding Invitations Can Keep You Out of Trouble (And Save You Money)

This stationery is a dream come true. A velvet fabric black gatefold sealed with a red wax seal by Penn and Paperie. Love it!!

This stationery is a dream come true. A velvet fabric black gatefold sealed with a red wax seal by Penn and Paperie. Love it!!

9- How Much is that Invitation in the Window?

Wedding invites can be extremely expensive. One would think that those little pieces of paper would be affordable. But nope. They are extremely personalized. So much so, they cannot be used for anybody else but you. There is no way to mass produce them unless you use a fill in the blanks card. So, get ready to setup a realistic invitation budget – especially if you are going for the highest priced items in the store.

Here are the variables to consider when choosing the perfect wedding invitation for your budget. The quantity ordered (although the price per each invite or invitation set will go down as the number of invitations increases), and its details, such as embellishments, specialty or high end paper, number of sides to be printed, special cuts and die-cuts, number of pieces, lined or unlined envelopes, boxes, tissue paper, ribbons, and more. Most printers will also assemble the invitations for you at an additional fee and only if they have ample time.

I always say it's all about the envelope. This blush origami could be your perfect wedding invitation. Definitely on point by Penn and Paperie.

I always say it’s all about the envelope. This blush origami could be your perfect wedding invitation. Definitely on point by Penn and Paperie.

We recommend that you compare prices of several printers before making the final decision and do not leave out quality and trust.

Consider not only the price of the invitations per se but everything else the printer offers. Some of them will pre-print the return address on the envelopes at no cost to you, others include stamps (another invitation-related cost) or give you outer envelopes for free as well.

Last but not least, you may have to order a minimum number of invites and this may be different for different printers. So, divide the quoted price by the number of invitations and compare the cost per unit always considering the added perks to make the best decision.

Bring in the old world elegance of monogrammed wedding stationery.

Bring in the old world elegance of monogrammed wedding stationery.

10- Choosing the Printer

I cannot emphasize this enough. Invitations are personalized and that means you will have to work with the printer, a LOT! Pick a printer you feel comfortable working with.

A final tip to get your perfect wedding invitation, always ask for a “proof” before going to print. Even if you have to pay extra for it, do it. The “proof” is a .pdf file of your invitation in black and white. Check for proper layout, spelling mistakes, everything. It could spare you from a massive headache and expense!

If you want to personalize your wedding invitations ever further, think paper or wax seals. You may also use them to personalize your wedding favors! And remember to follow these 10 tips to choose your perfect wedding invitation!

Glam monogram design with a champagne garden rose liner tied with cashmere silk ribbon by Shine Wedding Invitations.

Glam monogram design with a champagne garden rose liner tied with cashmere silk ribbon by Shine Wedding Invitations.

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Photo Credits: weddingprecious, instagram, weddinginvitespaper, the knot, Brit Morin.

If you are wondering about how to build your wedding guest list, pay attention to these tips. This task is rife with potential problems that are quite difficult to ignore or avoid.

Who would you miss the most if they were not present at your wedding?

Who would you miss the most if they were not present at your wedding?

So, before finding out how to build your wedding guest list, let’s go over a few fundamental questions. Keep in mind that there are no right or wrong answers but they will help you define the kind of event that will make you the happiest and the size of your wedding guest list.

First, what is the most important goal of your wedding? Sharing with the people closest and most dear to you or celebrating with everybody that has ever grazed your life?

Second, have you decided on the wedding style? Are you planning a tiny and intimate event or a large one where everybody will be invited? How small is small and how big is big?

Third, and now be realistic, how many people do you have to invite? Will your parents also invite people, and if so, how many?

Fourth, know your guests. Will you have to invite a lot of plus ones for your single guests? Will children be allowed and if so, at what age will you make the cut? How many will be honorary guests (those that you will send an invite to but will not attend)? Are most of your guests local or will you have some coming from afar? How many do you really think will attend?

Finally, what’s you budget limit and have you decided how you want to spend it? Think if you’d rather have a wedding just like you dreamt about or if you are willing to sacrifice some things to feed a few more guests and add to the fun?



A must-have wedding photo you will want share with your wedding guest list, amiright?

A must-have wedding photo you will want share with your wedding guest list, amiright?

How To Build Your Wedding Guest List The Traditional Way

  • Start by adding everybody that you know and would like to attend or feel an obligation to invite, be it family, friends, mentors, or any other acquaintances.
  • List all your family all the way down to your second cousins. Yes, even the ones who may not even attend. You may end up making them honorary guests and receive an invitation anyway. And you’ll need that count as well.
  • Next, start adding your closest friends. People you see often and they mean a lot to you.
  • Add your close colleagues, co-workers, clients and business associates to your wedding guest list. They will appreciate seeing you get married as they may have gotten to know you before you even met your spouse.
  • Think of other people who are a significant relationship in your life and add them to your wedding guest list.

Combine your list with your future spouse’s and your parent’s, if they get to invite people to the wedding as well. Now it’s time to trim your list down based on your budget and venue capacity.

What is the most important goal of your wedding? Sharing with the people closest and most dear to you? Or celebrating with everybody that has ever grazed your life?

What is the most important goal of your wedding? Sharing with the people closest and most dear to you? Or celebrating with everybody that has ever grazed your life?

Are you planning on printing fan programs? How many will you need?

Are you planning on printing fan programs? How many will you need?

Romantic vintage style bride and groom chairs. Unless you are throwing a super big bash and budget is no object, those plus ones that you have never met do not have to make it into your wedding guest list.

Romantic vintage style bride and groom chairs. Unless you are throwing a super big bash and budget is no object, those plus ones that you have never met do not have to make it into your wedding guest list.

Quick Steps To Decide Who’s In and Who’s Out

This set of questions will quickly help you weed out your wedding guest list. If you answer yes to all of them, that person definitely belongs in your guest list. If there answers are only 50/50, place them on a maybe list to be re-evaluated after your have a final headcount. That way, if there’s extra wedding budget to go around they can be added to the guest list. Otherwise, cross them off the list.

  1. Have you spoken to this person in the past year?
  2. Have you ever spent time together outside of work?
  3. Has your better half ever met this person?
  4. Would he/she invite you (or has he/she invited you) to their wedding?
  5. If this person would not attend your wedding, would it make a difference to you?

A few words of wisdom: If you’ve already chosen the wedding venue, keep in mind the location’s capacity.

Related Reading: Why you Should Consider Hiring a Day-Of Wedding Coordinator

Welcome your guests to your beach wedding with a simple and adorable table.

Welcome your guests to your beach wedding with a simple and adorable table.

Love this purple table decor with mirrors. Super fancy! Photo: Duke Photography.

Love this purple table decor with mirrors. Super fancy! Photo: Duke Photography.

What are your priorities? A perfect wedding or the more the merrier? Discover how to build your wedding guest list.

What are your priorities? A perfect wedding or the more the merrier? Discover how to build your wedding guest list.

Related Reading: How to Choose a Wedding Venue: Wedding Planning Tips You Must Read

Who To Cross off Your Wedding Guest List

There are some people who should automatically cross off your wedding guest list. And they are:

1Children of Family and Friends

Just because there are a lot of children in your family or amongst your friends does not mean you have to make your wedding kid-friendly. Unless that’s exactly what you want to do. Children imply special menus, care and entertainment. You will have to fend off many requests to sneak in their kids. No matter how well-behaved or how dear they are, and especially if booze will flow, children stay at home.

After so much effort building your wedding guest list you get to welcome all of these amazing people!

After so much effort building your wedding guest list you get to welcome all of these amazing people!




2Long Lost Friends

Should old acquaintance be forgot. And never brought to mind. You know how that goes. Yes, you may think of those friends from time to time, but the day of your wedding is not the moment to get re-acquainted. Wedding receptions are filled with things to do, people to say hello to, dancing, speeches and photo sessions. We assure you there will not be time for this.

Beautiful and simple table decor. Love the chalkboard place settings.

Beautiful and simple table decor. Love the chalkboard place settings.

3Co-workers

This is a very special occasion to be spent with loved ones. So, unless you have a co-worker who falls into the friend category, you can safely cross them off the wedding guest list. You reception is not a place of business and neither should you be using it to plan your next promotion. If things go awry at work, you’ll regret having them on your wedding photos.

Destination weddings tend to have a small number of guests and a larger number of events. Indigo blue and copper tablescape, Mykonos Island, Greece.

Destination weddings tend to have a small number of guests and a larger number of events. Indigo blue and copper tablescape, Mykonos Island, Greece.

4Reciprocal Wedding Invites

Yes, they invited you to their wedding but do you still keep in touch? Don’t feel obligated to add them to your wedding guest list.

Dreamy fairytale wedding. Are you going all out on your wedding reception?

Dreamy fairytale wedding. Are you going all out on your wedding reception?

5Plus Ones You Have Never Met

Unless you are throwing a super big bash and budget is no object, those plus ones that you have never met do not have to make it into your wedding guest list.

Even beach weddings in Tulum, Mexico, need a headcount. Photo: Tec Petaja.

Even beach weddings in Tulum, Mexico, need a headcount. Photo: Tec Petaja.

6Family You Are Not Close With

Friends may take up quite a few spaces at your wedding, but they may be much closer to you than some of your family members. Don’t feel guilty removing family from the wedding guest list when they are not close to you. Putting close friends in their place will make your wedding much more exciting. You want people there who know you well as their support will make your day much more special.

Garden weddings can also welcome their guests in style. Flowers by Lace and Lilies, Colorado.

Garden weddings can also welcome their guests in style. Flowers by Lace and Lilies, Colorado.

Now that you’ve got your wedding guest list ready, check out these wedding planning ideas and guides from amazing planners!

Amazing Photo Gallery Wedding Planning Ideas You Cannot Miss

Start browsing some seating chart ideas because that's what comes next!

Start browsing some seating chart ideas because that’s what comes next!

Discover More Stunning Wedding Ideas

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Photography credits: wedding forward, Stylish Wedd, bermudian weddings, Nebula, elo7, intimate weddings, Modern Wedding, moonlight bridal, Oh Best Day Ever, happy wedd

If your budget is tight or you are a DIY couple, day-of wedding coordinator services are a must. Find out what they are, what they do and how much they cost.

A day-of coordinator is of great assistance to the bride and wedding party.

A day-of coordinator is of great assistance to the bride and wedding party.

Enter the day-of wedding coordinator, a sweet trend to help couples on a budget and brides who really want to get involved in their wedding planning, fully enjoy their D-day.

What is a Day-Of Wedding Coordinator?

Plain and simple, a day-of wedding coordinator is a planner hired to help with management and support on the big day.

Although called “day-of,” they don’t just show up on your wedding day and work magic. They meet with you in advance should really be called, month-of coordinators.

A day-of wedding coordinator becomes the director of the event. She coordinates the flow, the timing of your hired vendors, and makes sure your wedding is as you have envisioned it.

Unlike full-service wedding planners, day-of wedding coordinators aren’t in charge of the whole planning process. Instead, they work together with the couple to ensure the smooth running of things through the rehearsal dinner and the day of the nuptials.

Some planners specialize in these types of services but full-blown wedding planners may also offer a day-of coordinator package. So, if you are in love with a wedding planner’s work but your budget is too tight to hire him to organize your whole wedding, ask if he offers day-of services. 😉



Relax and enjoy your first dance with the peace of mind that a day-of wedding coordinator can give you.

Relax and enjoy your first dance with the peace of mind that a day-of wedding coordinator can give you.

Difference between the Venue Coordinator and the Day-Of Planner

While the venue coordinator will usually assist you during the reception on the venue’s behalf, the day-of planner will be by your side the whole day. The day-of coordinator will run the rehearsal, setup and cleanup, deal with your guests and help you with your decor.

Some venue coordinators may go the extra mile. When in doubt, ask and be specific.

A day-of coordinator will create your day-of timeline mapping all of the arrival times, setup times and more, than need to happen for a flawless event.

A day-of coordinator will create your day-of timeline mapping all of the arrival times, setup times and more, than need to happen for a flawless event.

Your day-of wedding coordinator will be in charge of giving the final head count to your caterers.

Your day-of wedding coordinator will be in charge of giving the final head count to your caterers.

Why Hire a Day-Of Wedding Coordinator?

Of course, come D-day, you would need someone to guide your guests, coordinate with vendors, and make sure everything runs smoothly. From floor plans to cake placement to lighting levels, someone needs to set the mood and determine what’s appropriate.

You may be trying to save a few bucks by having your bestie take care of all this. But remember, she may not be an event planner, she’s also a guests, and you are not paying her…

Hiring a day-of wedding coordinator will give you the piece of mind that you will need. Place everything in the hands of a skilled professional. It’s your wedding day. Live a little!!

Coordination of rehearsal, ceremony, cocktail hour and reception are some of the tasks the day-of coordinator will tackle for you.

Coordination of rehearsal, ceremony, cocktail hour and reception are some of the tasks the day-of coordinator will tackle for you.




Day-Of Wedding Planner Services: What They can do for You

Besides consulting with you well in advance of your D-day, visiting the venue, and conducting the wedding rehearsal the day before, day-of planners will be the go-to person so your day goes as amazingly as you always dreamt it would be.

Day-of wedding planners are skilled and effective at vendor coordination and turning your vision into a reality.

If you are planning your own wedding, hire a day of coordinator.

If you are planning your own wedding, hire a day of coordinator.

Day-of wedding coordination services will make your big day the reality you've worked so hard for.

Day-of wedding coordination services will make your big day the reality you’ve worked so hard for.

Before the Wedding Day

They will meet with you and consult to understand your vision and what you expect to happen on your wedding day. One or two venue walk-throughs will be performed, depending on the hired package. The day-of planner will also create your wedding-day timeline and manage your wedding rehearsal.

They may even suggest vendors and share planning tools to help out with the organization of your big day.

Day-of wedding coordinators will do a site visit with you and understand what you want your wedding day to look and feel like. Then, they will run the show.

Day-of wedding coordinators will do a site visit with you and understand what you want your wedding day to look and feel like. Then, they will run the show.

With prices that start at the low 800's and the peace of mind these professionals provide, this is a must for all DIY couples. Libelle Photography.

With prices that start at the low 800’s and the peace of mind these professionals provide, this is a must for all DIY couples. Libelle Photography.

On the Wedding Day

On your big day, your day-of wedding coordinator won’t only run emergency deliveries or directing photo schedules, but also fend off obnoxious guests wanting to see the bride as she is getting ready!

From helping you get ready for the ceremony, guiding the bridal party through the processional and recessional to the cocktail hour, dinner and dance, these experienced planners work their magic.

Being in charge of details like giving the final head count to the caterers, a day-of coordinator is of great assistance to the couple and their wedding party. A day-of wedding coordinator will sign for deliveries, send necessary info to vendors, amongst other details. They really take away the stress and work at a very reasonable cost.

With day-of wedding coordinators, it eventually becomes an “all in a day’s work” affair. Like checking for menus, napkin folds, and placement of favors, they ensure every detail looks flawless. For gift collection and inventory, you would need a point of contact to keep things moving and that’s where the planner comes in.

The day-of wedding coordinator becomes your go-to person in case of any itch, concerns, or unexpected, last-minute hiccups till you drive into the sunset with your partner. Someone in charge of the “dirty work” as you enjoy your day.

Love is when you only have eyes for the other person.

Love is when you only have eyes for the other person.

Enjoy your styled photoshoot session knowing that somebody is taking care of the details. Lian Rokman 2018 wedding dress collection.

Enjoy your styled photoshoot session knowing that somebody is taking care of the details. Lian Rokman 2018 wedding dress collection.

Wedding Inspiration for your Day-Of Planner

How Far in Advance should You Hire a Day-Of Coordinator?

Day-of wedding coordinators are actually hired well in advance of your wedding day. Depending on the planner and the services offered, you may even have to book your day-of wedding coordinator four or five months ahead of D-day.

At the very least you should allow four to six weeks for your coordinator to get acquainted with you, understand your vision, do a walk-through of the venue, meet with your vendors and prepare your wedding timeline.

Some day-of coordinators can jump in at any point of your wedding planning process and ensure that you have a flawless wedding day.

Some day-of coordinators can jump in at any point of your wedding planning process and ensure that you have a flawless wedding day.

Let your family and friends enjoy the day as guests and not wedding coordinators.

Let your family and friends enjoy the day as guests and not wedding coordinators.

Enjoy your day and look stunning in an off the shoulder number by Studio Levana.

Enjoy your day and look stunning in an off the shoulder number by Studio Levana.

Day-of Wedding Coordinator Cost

Depending on the size, geographical location, and complexity of the wedding, a day-of package could start at $700 or $900 onwards. Not bad for giving yourself peace of mind on your wedding day, right? 😉

Destination wedding planners may also offer day-of coordinator services. Just ask.

Destination wedding planners may also offer day-of coordinator services. Just ask.

With day-of wedding planners by your side, you will be able to relax and enjoy your wedding day to the fullest. Are you thinking of hiring a day-of wedding coordinator now? Now, let’s cover the basics and a few eccentric ideas to organize the most legendary wedding after-party ever.

Let your wedding party and framily enjoy your big day as much as any other guest. A day-of wedding coordinator will take on all of the stress of managing D-day.

Let your wedding party and framily enjoy your big day as much as any other guest. A day-of wedding coordinator will take on all of the stress of managing D-day.

Wedding receptions are meant to be enjoyed to the fullest. DIY all you want but hire a day-of wedding coordinator.

Wedding receptions are meant to be enjoyed to the fullest. DIY all you want but hire a day-of wedding coordinator.

Discover More Stunning Wedding Ideas

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Photography Credits: utahbrideandgroom, girlyard, icasei, Praise Wedding, thelakecomoweddingplanner, TheLane, Inspiring Pretty, Brides, wedding butlers, himisspuff, wedding forward, Bridal Musings, Strictly Weddings, Huffpost, ArchZine FR

About to choose a wedding venue? Stop and read these wedding planning tips to help you land the venue that fits your budget, style and all of your guests!

Florida wedding venue. Ancient Spanish Monastery in North Miami Beach.

Florida wedding venue. Ancient Spanish Monastery in North Miami Beach.

The wedding venue may often set the tone for the rest of your wedding. No pressure, right? Allow us to help you by breaking down the process of choosing a wedding venue. Find out what to consider before touring the locations. What questions to ask get the information you need to land the reception space of your dreams. 🙂

How to Choose a Wedding Venue: It’s Definition Time!

If you are about to choose a wedding venue you will be overwhelmed by the number of banquet halls, spaces, outdoor locations and more that will pop up on Google. Let’s bring it down a notch. Stop the searching, grab a calendar, pen and paper and follow the yellow-brick road. 😉

Before starting to look for the ideal venue you must define four things: the date, your wedding style, the number of guests, and your budget.

First of all, pick a date. You will need to check if the place you picked is available on that date before even considering touring the venue. So, the date will definitely will be one of your filters. If budget is a concern, keep in mind that prices are more affordable from Sunday to Thursday and higher on Friday and Saturday as well as during peak wedding season. If you’re not getting married on-site, check in dates with your church or City Hall first before booking the reception venue. Date: Check!



Intimate weddings are very much on trend. Organic and intimate destination wedding in Italy.

Intimate weddings are very much on trend. Organic and intimate destination wedding in Italy.

Next, the wedding style. The wedding venue you pick will help you define and frame your wedding theme. If you are looking for a summery vibe to your reception, consider a country, garden, or beach wedding.

Modern couples can look into lofts, warehouses, art galleries. Check out these modern industrial raw spaces if you live in New York! Remember that when you engage a raw space, the rentals do not come included in the package. Consider all the extras in the price for a more fair comparison between wedding venues.

Non-traditional couples may look for unique and eclectic event spaces, such as zoos, public libraries, museums, and even old train stations. These spaces in Los Angeles will give you an idea to start with. (but do not make a decision yet!)

Intimate weddings are very much on trend. You can go as small as your own backyard (so cool!) or as fancy as renting a vacation home and make it a weekend celebration. Who knows? It may end up being more affordable that a traditional reception venue. Talk about an unforgettable experience! At the end of this article, we’ve added a wedding venue size calculator, just in case you want to host the shindig at home. 😉

Plan an unforgettable wedding! Find out how to choose a wedding venue step by step. Wedding photographer: Lauren Conrad Photography.

Plan an unforgettable wedding! Find out how to choose a wedding venue step by step. Wedding photographer: Lauren Conrad Photography.

Now, let’s estimate the guest count. It is highly recommended that you build a preliminary count which you can adjust later. Reception venues will ask you for this number in order to give you a quote. You will also use the guest count to perform your preliminary research. Be mindful of the fact that there are always last minute additions and that just because a venue tells you it can fit 150 people, it does not mean you have to cram them all up.

Finally, the budget! How much can you afford to spend on the wedding venue? We highly recommend sticking to this budget or you will have to do away with those coveted ice sculptures, your dream wedding gown, or the open bar you so badly wanted for your guests. 🙁

Make sure there will be space for your chain link Chuppah! Huron Substation, Los Angeles, CA. Wedding photographer: Jen Huang Photography.

Make sure there will be space for your chain link Chuppah! Huron Substation, Los Angeles, CA. Wedding photographer: Jen Huang Photography.

Imagine your reception at a place like the Patio del barrio de Santa Cruz, Sevilla.

Imagine your reception at a place like the Patio del barrio de Santa Cruz, Sevilla.

How to Choose a Wedding Venue: Perform a Preliminary Online Search

Yes! Let’s bring Google back! The first step is collecting all of the information available to you about the potential wedding venues. Try not to overwhelm yourself with too many event spaces. Start with a few reception places and go from there. Stay organized by building a spreadsheet, it will help you figure out who you’d like to visit in person. Remember, you still have a few more steps to go.

Try to find the following information from each venue’s website: Name of the venue, address, website, phone number & other contact information, capacity, pricing Information, and why you liked it.

It is likely that not all of this information will be available on the website; and you may need to call or email the venue to get everything you need. At least by collecting all of this information you can compare them side by side.

Marquee monogram for the dessert table at a backyard wedding venue.

Marquee monogram for the dessert table at a backyard wedding venue.

Burlap and tulle window covers with rosettes. Done with coral and ivory flowers. An easy and cheap idea to help cover windows if the reception space is too bright.

Burlap and tulle window covers with rosettes. Done with coral and ivory flowers. An easy and cheap idea to help cover windows if the reception space is too bright.




How to Choose a Wedding Venue: Prepare for Touring the Wedding Venues

Now, let’s boil down your list to a manageable size. Email or call the prospective spaces and find out if they are available on your date. If so, coordinate an in-person visit, preferably when it’s set up for a wedding. It will give you a better idea of the space available.

Ask them if you’ll have exclusive use of the venue on that day. Every banquet hall or wedding venue differs in the amount of privacy provided. Some offer separate bathrooms and dressing rooms, some share the parking space area. If you are getting married in a public space, you’d better make your piece with strangers stopping by and giving you their good wishes.

Ask as many questions as possible beforehand so you can concentrate on visualizing your wedding and checking those details you have to verify in person.

The Gavioli Chapel in Eureka Springs is a unique ceremony choice for couples looking for an impressive setting for their wedding. Chapel in the Woods, Arkansas. Wedding Venue.

The Gavioli Chapel in Eureka Springs is a unique ceremony choice for couples looking for an impressive setting for their wedding. Chapel in the Woods, Arkansas. Wedding Venue.

With this small checklist you are ready to go and choose a wedding venue that is perfect for you! Huron SubStation, Los Angeles, CA.

With this small checklist you are ready to go and choose a wedding venue that is perfect for you! Huron SubStation, Los Angeles, CA.

Questions to Ask a Wedding Venue When Visiting (or Before!)

So you have an appointment with a venue on-site coordinator. You want to make sure this time is well-spent, so what should you ask? Start by making sure you can fill in all the blanks of the spreadsheet you created. Here are a few more questions that will help you choose a wedding venue that fits your requirements.

Layout and Accommodations Questions

  • Is there a bridal-changing area?
  • How much parking is available? Is valet parking an option? If the parking is limited, is there nearby parking available? Ensure it is easy for the guests to arrive comfortably to your wedding. They will thank you for it.
  • Is the venue handicap accessible? Make sure everyone feels welcomed.
  • How many bathrooms are available and what is their capacity?
  • Make sure that there is space for all the activities and details that you have planned for your wedding: the guestbook signing, the dinner, the cocktails, the dessert table and the cake, the dance floor, the band, the photo booth and a few lounging areas!
  • If your guests will travel to your wedding you need to offer them lodging. Find out if the wedding venue has at least a couple of hotels nearby with available rooms. Your guests will really appreciate if you offer them a third and cheaper option.
Grace Loves Lace are renowned for creating effortlessly unique, luxurious designs for the modern bride. Designed & handmade in Australia.

Grace Loves Lace are renowned for creating effortlessly unique, luxurious designs for the modern bride. Designed & handmade in Australia.

Wedding Planning Questions

  • What time can vendors arrive to start setting up and then dismantling the wedding decor?
  • What are the wedding decor restrictions? Are there any guidelines, restrictions or policies on using real candles? Is it a raw space? If not, what table and chair styles do they provide? Do you need a special permit for your wedding arch?
  • What refrigeration is available? (This is important if you are using live flowers or cake with frosting that could melt)
  • Is the venue licensed for providing or servicing alcohol? Is there hirable bar staff? What is the rate for the staff, service, and drink?
  • Are there any noise ordinances you need to respect? If the venue does not allow for music after 10pm and you plan to continue the party until the wee hours of the morning, that’s not a good fit. Unless you plan on an after-party somewhere else.
  • Is there a contingency plan provided by the fabulous vineyard in case it rains? An indoor space or a tent?
  • If you would like to host a romantic wedding, a daytime wedding or a cocktail at sunset, check that the place can provide you with the lighting you want and need.
  • How far is it from the church? Or is there a space to celebrate the religious ceremony?
Wedding planning advice. Allow for space for the waiters to serve your guests. Love this tablescape shot! The pops of color are terrific. Wedding photographer: Jen Huang Photography

Allow for space for the waiters to serve your guests. Love this tablescape shot! The pops of color are terrific. Wedding photographer: Jen Huang Photography.

How to choose a wedding venue step by step. Chapel in the Woods, The Woodlands, TX wedding venue. Wedding photographer: Sara Answorth photography.

How to choose a wedding venue step by step. Chapel in the Woods, The Woodlands, TX wedding venue. Wedding photographer: Sara Answorth photography.

Pricing Questions

  • Are there discounts available for booking off-season or on Sunday through Friday?
  • What are the terms of the deposit? Is it refundable and when is it due?
  • What is the cancellation policy?
  • Are rentals (tables, chairs, linens, table clothes, or glassware) included in the price? If so, which ones?
  • Make sure when you are looking for potential venues that you clearly understand what’s included and what isn’t. Examples of this are catering and wedding menus, beverages, and centerpieces.
  • Are there any vendor restrictions? If the venue offers catering in-house, find out if you can do a tasting before the wedding.
  • Does the venue have liability insurance?

Don’t book the first venue you see, even if you fall in love with it. Choose at least three or four wedding venues that fit your budget and wedding style and ask for quotes. Be prepared to take notes and lots of photos!

Ask for the wedding venue quotes. Make sure you get as much information as possible to choose a wedding venue that you will be happy with. It’s your day, after all!

Succulents and white roses adorn this chic boho wedding in California. Their quaint, yet ultra stylish venue at Seven4One offered the perfect one-of-a-kind circular ceremony space for their intimate nuptials.

Succulents and white roses adorn this chic boho wedding in California. Their quaint, yet ultra stylish venue at Seven4One offered the perfect one-of-a-kind circular ceremony space for their intimate nuptials.

Remember to add the wedding venue address to your invitations. Elegant and luxurious white laser cut pocket wedding invitations.

Remember to add the wedding venue address to your invitations. Elegant and luxurious white laser cut pocket wedding invitations. (BYWWS026)

Wedding Venue Size Calculator

All venues will help you find out how many guests can fit in a banquet hall or reception venue for different seating plans. But, if you are holding your wedding affair at home, in a garden or at another outdoor venue, it is useful to know how to calculate how many guests can be accommodated in a given space. You do not want your guests feeling cramped at your wedding.

Measure the length and the width of the area in feet. Multiply the two numbers together to get the area in square feet. If the space is uneven, you need to break it up into squares, rectangles or triangles, calculate the area for each and then add them up.

Now divide this number by 2 as you may safely estimate that 50% of the area will be used for aisles, staging, waiters, dance floor, catering stations, and other. The remaining area will accommodate your guests.

Non-traditional couples may look for unique and eclectic event spaces such as this one. Wedding photography: Colin Cowie Weddings.

Non-traditional couples may look for unique and eclectic event spaces such as this one. Wedding photography: Colin Cowie Weddings.

Wedding ceremony decor for raw spaces. 40 tissue paper poms.

Wedding ceremony decor for raw spaces. 40 tissue paper poms.

Use the following guidelines to calculate capacity:

* For every round banquet table that seats 10 people, calculate 30 square feet.
* Calculate 3 square feet per person for a stand-up reception.

However, each room or space is different. You need to take into account the shape, locations of doors, fire exits, columns; buffet dinner or seated dinner set up, and so on. As a rule of thumb, 1,000 square feet is adequate for 80 wedding guests at a sit-down wedding. For each ten additional guests, add an additional 200 square feet of space.

With this small checklist you are ready to go and choose a wedding venue that is perfect for you. Just one last piece of advice, once you have set your reception hall budget don’t go see places that far exceed it. And now, let’s read about wedding reception seating!

Wedding Venue Photography to Inspire You

Wedding planning advice: How to choose your wedding venue.

Wedding planning advice: How to choose your wedding venue.

A chandelier makes all the difference at this intimate affair.

A chandelier makes all the difference at this intimate affair.

Discover More Stunning Wedding Ideas

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Photography credits: Borrowed & Blue weddings, OnceWed, WeddingChicks, Brit Morin.